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2011 BMW 550i M-Sport
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
My 2011 BMW 550I M-Sport is a rarity -it's one of the few 6-speed manuals ordered for that year and never fails to attract attention. When I ordered the car, I was very careful about what I wanted and struck a nice balance between performance and comfort. It's certainly a car I intend to keep, especially since BMW discontinued the manual transmission option for the 5-Series cars shortly afterwards. The once thing I have really missed having in this car is Apple CarPlay. My wife has it in her X5 lease vehicle and I recently upgraded the audio system in my older Porsche to a Pioneer system that included Apple CarPlay. So, imagine my delight at finding Bimmertech's MMI Prime solution. I watched the available videos on YouTube and contacted Bimmertech and also had a chat with Specialty Auto in Haskell, NJ who do all my car electronics work.

So, I pulled the trigger on the unit and have to say it is worth every dime it cost. It’s amazing to me that a 10-year old audio system can be made contemporary in such an amazingly simple way. The many features I have appreciated in our other vehicles – especially hearing and responding to Messages hands-free are alone well worth the cost. My installer praised the simple installation and clear instructions and was able to turn the car around in a day.

A few observations – I do need to establish the Bluetooth link to the MMI unit each time I drive the car but that’s easily done from the iPhone menu. Also, because I didn’t opt for the upgrade to my iDrive controller that you might see in the YouTube video I need to use it as a mouse to scroll through the various screens, apps and options – but that’s no big deal. The one time I needed help – I got stuck in a menu screen – Bimmertech was able to quickly get me back up and running though their website’s chat feature.

So, for me all upsides – no downsides – and a very happy outcome.

Find the MMI Prime Unit here: CarPlay MMI Prime Retrofit for BMW | BimmerTech

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Thanks for the review. I was going to go with that unit if I went for Carplay. I liked the support from Bimmertech. I heard it's a very tight fit in the F10 so chops to your installer. Is that the USB cable below and left of the HVAC? How is the phone battery drain on a 30 minute commute while running a Navigation app? When I prototyped replacing my soon-to-be-sunset 3G cockpit with a dedicated iPhone, I found that the built-in BMW USB can't charge modern phones enough to keep up with a phone running a Navigation APP. I lost 5% charge in 30 minutes. Does the MMI USB charge your phone enough so on a long drive, the phone stays charged? TIA
 

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2011 BMW 550i M-Sport
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
My installer said there is actually a fair amount of room behind the dash for the unit and he had no issues. I had already picked up the ProClip/Scouch iPhone mount you can see below and to the right of my screen. It handles QI charging just fine so no Lightning cable needed. I had been running the mount’s power cable externally to the USB input in the center console but you can see my installer has it all tucked out of sight now. He did my Valentine One Generation 2 install at the same time. That’s a Blendmount on the rear view mirror with their power tap. I find that the V1 tucks away neatly in the drop-down cubby to the left of the steering wheel when I park. Also note the tidy install of the Bimmertech USB input just to the left of the ash tray lid.
 

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Great. Another question is the audio. Listening to the radio is still done in iDrive right? Do you get audio alerts from your Carplay for incoming calls, text and navigation when listening to the radio?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Great. Another question is the audio. Listening to the radio is still done in iDrive right? Do you get audio alerts from your Carplay for incoming calls, text and navigation when listening to the radio?
You have the option to switch between the MMI system and the original BMW iDrive setup via a long press on the Menu button on iDrive. I have a Sirius satellite radio subscription and if I have a station on and then switch over to Apple CarPlay in MMI it is still on the audio system until I move to another source. Same with local AM/FM and Weather Band stations. In Navigation you can choose your iDrive navigation, Google Maps, Apple Maps, Waze, etc. - they are all there. Incoming and outgoing telephone calls are normal and Siri will handle voice dialing, texting and music selection.
 

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RIght. I'm trying to understand the audio flow because I thought the MMI uses the headunit "Aux Front" to get its audio out. So if iDrive has radio selected as the current audio, can a Navi app running in Carplay get its navigation audio alerts and such out?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It does use Aux Front Ernest. I'm not a technical expert on it - I can only tell you what my experience has been so far. If you were in Northern New Jersey I'd offer you a ride to show you how mine works. Maybe that's a question the Techs at Bimmertech can answer.
 

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Thanks @GForce650. If things go bonkers Feb 2022 and I lose my supposedly 3G sunset proof Realtime traffic, I am going to pursue the Bimmertech MMI device. Next time you have a destination set in your Carplay Navi App of choice, tune into Sirius. With Sirius displayed on the screen, listen for the turn by turn. That will answer the question. I was told by BimmerTech support via chat that it would come through but I'm not 100% he understood the scenario.TIA
 
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